April 18, 2024
Life At Witt

Mason Ritchason ‘24

Dual major Mason Ritchason ’24 finds success with two of his original works premiering on campus and a chance to the create new student organization.

Wittenberg students can pursue every passion possible, and the opportunities are endless – something  senior music student Mason Ritchason has learned firsthand. Combining his love of computer science and music, Ritchason wrote a composition that premiered during a Wittenberg Symphonic Band concert performance. His original piece, “Whatever Excitement Life Brings,” debuted at the April 28, 2023, event and proved a big moment for the Mechanicsburg, Ohio, resident.

Fast forward to Homecoming, Reunion, & Family Weekend celebrations this past October, and Ritchason again found his work on display. Wittenberg Professor of Music Brandon Jones had commissioned Ritchason to compose a new version of Wittenberg’s fight song, which the Wittenberg Symphonic Band performed it at its Oct. 6, 2023, Homecoming concert.

In his time at Wittenberg, Ritchason has immersed himself in musical opportunities, including being a member of the Wittenberg Jazz Ensemble and the Wittenberg Symphonic Band, where he is also the manager and librarian. He will be starting his fifth year of membership with Wittenberg’s Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association (OCMEA) Chapter after being president last year.

Listening to his work being performed has been something very special to him.

“Hearing ‘Whatever Excitement Life Brings’ performed in Weaver Chapel was surreal,” he said. “Countless hours went into the creation of that piece, and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Learning to write high-quality, well-crafted music is a deceptively long road, and I experienced lots of doubt. However, when I got to stand and enjoy the copious applause from the (unexpectedly large) audience, I felt so relieved, validated, and excited for the future. So many people approached me post-performance; each one had something wonderful and unique to say about the piece. It felt like everything had finally clicked into place, and I was ready to take on the next musical challenge!”

Ritchason, who has split time between his majors in music and computer science, was also excited to start a new campus organization – the Wittenberg Student Musicians Organization (WSMO). WSMO will offer pre-professional experiences for those involved in the music department.

“I’m a trumpet player by study, and I’ve played in small music groups for recitals and have had several solo performances in the music department,” Ritchason said. “One of the biggest opportunities that Wittenberg has afforded me is the capability to develop my craft as a composer and musician while also studying computer science. This has given me the confidence to chase my dreams in music and education while still securing a ‘safety net’ in the CS degree. I don’t have to face buckets of stress over my future because I have both of these incredible career paths to walk along,” he said.

Ritchason is thankful to his professors, who are invested in his success.

“Nearly every professor I've engaged with has made me feel important, like I deserve their tutelage. It's an honor, because each one is knowledgeable, adept, and comfortable with their studies and crafts,” he said. “Their interest in me and my future made it easy to be passionate and engaged both in and out of the classroom. Many of them were (and are) invested in my work as a composer and musician, which is beyond gratifying.

“I have musical opportunities to develop my portfolio and skills, as well as career guidance in the CS department, which makes it very easy for me to flourish in both aspects of my studies,” he added. “I have a lot of plans for both my majors in the near and far future. Once I graduate in the spring, I will begin pursuing a master’s in musical composition, followed by a doctorate in music theory or musicology. After graduate school, I aim to work as a professor of music teaching theory, composition, history, and business of music.”

Ritchason has been accepted to the Master of Music Composition programs at both Bowling Green State University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Ohio.

“I'm awaiting graduate funding information before I make my final decision, but I will be attending one of these schools in the fall,” said Ritchason, who is currently preparing for his senior recital and presentation at 6:30 p.m. on April 20, in Krieg Recital Hall.

“I will be premiering two of my own musical compositions and playing some solo trumpet music at my senior recital,” he added. “This will be the culminating display of the work I've been doing for the last five years.”

Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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